New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling

New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling
The World Bowling League will launch in 2024. (WBL)
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Updated 15 October 2023

New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling

New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling
  • UAE-based entrepreneur Adi K. Mishra will launch World Bowling League in 2024 in partnership with International Bowling Federation

Ten-pin bowling is set to be reimagined as an engaging commercial entity with the launch of the World Bowling League, according its founder, UAE-based entrepreneur, Adi K. Mishra.

Mishra, the chief executive of League Sports Co., believes that the project is vital for the future of the sport.

“Any sport that claims to have more than 150 million regular participants worldwide has enormous potential,” Mishra said. “Add a sprinkling of celebrity stardust, stunning competition locations and a focus on digital engagement, and League Sports Co. has the recipe to transform the popular pastime of ten-pin bowling into a commercially successful global juggernaut.”

League Sports Co. — under its previous name XTZ Esports Tech — announced last year that it had struck a deal that will run for up to 20 years with the International Bowling Federation to “drive innovation, growth and investment in the sport.”

Primarily, this will involve the launch in 2024 of the new league, which will aim to redefine the appeal of bowling through the WBL pro tour and WBL global calendars for fans and competitors alike, as well as broadcasters, sponsors, agencies and bookmakers.

For Mishra, it is an opportunity to introduce a unifying new structure to a sport that has already benefited from passionate professional, semi-professional and grassroots participants.

The WBL aims to expand the existing base and capture a mass audience through a pro tour and a “premier aspirational product” that has innovation at its core — from the competition locations to the lane designs, balls and scoring, Mishra said.

“At League Sports Co, we have been actively investing time and capital over the last 18 months to bring about much-needed change and updates across all aspects of the sport,” he said.

Held in standard bowling centers under traditional bowling rules, the WBL pro tour will feature a range of tournaments split into three tiers of competition: the challenger series, open series and top-tier masters.

Ranking points will range from 250 for winning a challenger series tournament to 1,000 for triumphing at a masters tournament. The consistency and flow of this calendar is designed to appeal to fans, sponsors and the media by introducing an understandable and consistent narrative to the sport.

“We are already in late-stage negotiations to bring disparate bowling events with significant tradition and history under a single umbrella and introduce the universal bowling performance index for global rankings,” said Mishra, who added that such structures have proved successful for the likes of the ATP Tour in men’s tennis.

The launch of WBL Global, meanwhile, represents what Mishra describes as an “aspirational product that bowling deserves” by elevating the sport to a mainstream stature while integrating cutting-edge technological solutions and elements of strategy such as reverse scoring, restricted throws and franchise teams to build a fan base.

The holding company, LSC, has shown its ability to work alongside athletes and celebrities, having launched a collaborative ownership of a new E1 racing team with Virat Kohli earlier this week.

WBL is similarly in late-stage discussions with high-profile names to become league-level investors.

WBL Global will feature between 12 and 15 events a year in iconic locations in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, India, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, among other nations, with hopes of expanding the calendar in three to five years’ time. It is anticipated that between eight and 12 franchise teams will compete in season one, with each having a gender-balanced squad of between four and six competitors.

At least two people in each four-person WBL team will be female, helping to underline the equality at the heart of a sport that is age-agnostic and gender-neutral. It is thought that between 40 and 50 percent of bowling participants worldwide are female, according to data from the federation.

“I believe bowling as a sport with powerful stories, played by all age groups and all genders across the world for several decades, is at a pivotal moment, ready for evolution,” Mishra said. “At LSC, we are steering this change by removing barriers and unifying its fragmented ecosystem. We’re implementing tech-enhanced, robust point-based systems, such as the WBL UBPI player’s ranking and the tournament management system.”

The athletes themselves will benefit from financial incentives within the sport. Collective prize money across WBL properties will reach $3 million to $5 million in year one, with hopes of hitting $10 million in year two, depending on growth. With bowling already featuring at international and regional events such as the Pan American Games, Asian Games and the World Games, such investment is likely to provide a platform for further interest in the sport.

For Mishra and LSC, there is no shortage of ambition.

“In five years, I expect the WBL to transform bowling into a leading aspirational product for both athletes and viewers,” he said. “Athletes will be competing for significant prize money, elevating the sport’s commercial appeal and status. Financially, I anticipate the league to be highly profitable, backed by a global audience that spans multiple age groups and demographics. The commercial side will be robust, driven by sponsorships, merchandising and media rights, and we are in preliminary discussions with cities worldwide.”

Metallica to perform in Riyadh in December

Metallica to perform in Riyadh in December
Updated 2 min 33 sec ago

Metallica to perform in Riyadh in December

Metallica to perform in Riyadh in December

DUBAI: US metal band Metallica is set to perform in Saudi Arabia for the first time in December at the Kingdom’s much-anticipated music festival Soundstorm by MDLBeast.

The group’s gig will be in Riyadh on Dec. 14, the first night of the three-day event.


A post shared by Metallica (@metallica)

The festival is also hosting international stars including Chris Brown, Pharrell Williams, Her, Tiesto, David Guetta, Black Eyed Peas, J Balvin and Anne-Marie.

Some of the Arab stars who will hit the stage include Elissa, Mahmoud El-Esseily, Hakeem, Majid Al-Mohandis, Mohamed Ramadan, Omaima Taleb, Rabeh Saqr, Dalia Mubarak, Ruby, Nancy Ajram, Ramy Sabry, Ahmed Saad, Hamid El-Shari and more.

The festival is yet to announce more international and regional artists taking part in this year’s edition.

Metallica’s Saudi show is part of the group’s M72 World Tour.

Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez spotted in Abu Dhabi

Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez spotted in Abu Dhabi
Updated 6 min 34 sec ago

Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez spotted in Abu Dhabi

Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez spotted in Abu Dhabi

DUBAI: A long list of celebrities, including Naomi Campbell, Georgina Rodriguez, Priyanka Chopra, Irina Shayk, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, were spotted in the UAE this week attending the annual Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The A-list stars attended the final day of the Formula One race, which saw Max Verstappen take pole position for the season-ending event at the Yas Marina circuit.

Argentine model Rodriguez, who is Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner, attended the race with her son Mateo. She wore a strapless denim dress and a pale blue sweater draped around her shoulders.

“What a lovely day,” she captioned her picture with Mateo at the event.

Meanwhile, Campbell donned an oversized white printed dress, cinched at the waist with a corset-style belt.

Bollywood actress Chopra opted for a black and pink dress with matching tights and black sunglasses.

Khadra sisters, Bella Hadid pay tribute to their grandparents

Khadra sisters, Bella Hadid pay tribute to their grandparents
Updated 45 min 36 sec ago

Khadra sisters, Bella Hadid pay tribute to their grandparents

Khadra sisters, Bella Hadid pay tribute to their grandparents

DUBAI: US Palestinian beauty entrepreneurs Simi and Haze Khadra, as well as US Dutch Palestinian supermodel Bella Hadid, took to social media this week to pay tribute to their respective grandparents.  

The Khadra twins — beauty entrepreneurs and DJs who grew up between Riyadh, Dubai and London and are now regulars on the Los Angeles social scene — shared a post lauding their grandmother on her birthday.  

“Happy birthday to our grandmother, teta Fairouz, who was born in Akka, Palestine. Like all four of our grandparents, she was forcibly expelled from her home as a child by Israeli forces in 1948 … she is the most selfless human we know — always displaying the remarkable strength, generosity, and integrity Palestinians are known for.” 

The Khadra sisters paid tribute to their Palestinian grandmother, far right, on social media. (Instagram)

The twins took to Instagram earlier this month to announce that they would donate all sales from their makeup brand SimiHaze Beauty until Nov. 27 on the brand’s website to the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF).  

“PCRF is working on getting children out of Gaza for free medical care. Simi & Haze have a trusting relationship with the PCRF, having completed successful fundraising campaigns together that have yielded dramatic improvements to children’s lives by bringing them the medical care they need to survive,” they posed on Instagram.  

Meanwhile, Hadid took to Instagram Stories to celebrate her grandfather.  

Bella Hadid shared a photo of her grandfather on Monday. (Instagram)

“He passed away when I was young but his memory is still inside my head,” she posted alongside a photograph of her paternal grandfather, adding: “His laugh, and his hug, and his voice and the fact that he could not be buried in the place where he was born and where his father and father’s father were born and died in the city they built — this is one of the many reasons I strive for a free, equal, liberated Palestine. I hope you are proud.” 

Earlier this month, Hadid marked her father’s birthday with special post on Instagram that celebrated his Palestinian roots.   

The 27-year-old catwalk star posted a picture of her and real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid from last year at the “Labour of Love” exhibition in Doha, which investigated the symbolism of the Palestinian thobe.  


A post shared by Simi & Haze (@simihaze)

“Happy birthday to my baba … born in Nazareth, Palestine November 6, 1948,” Bella captioned her post.   

In an earlier post, she shared the story of her father who was born in the year of the Nakba or “The Catastrophe” in 1948.  

“Nine days after he was born, he, in his mother’s arms, along with his family were expelled from their home of Palestine, becoming refugees, away from a place they once called home,” she said.  

“My grandparents, never being allowed to return. My family witnessed 75 years of violence against Palestinian people — most notably, brutal settler invasions which led to the destruction of entire communities, murder in cold blood and the forcible removal of families from their homes,” she added. 

Oil Updates – prices rise on weak dollar, expectations for OPEC+ output cuts

Oil Updates – prices rise on weak dollar, expectations for OPEC+ output cuts
Updated 28 November 2023

Oil Updates – prices rise on weak dollar, expectations for OPEC+ output cuts

Oil Updates – prices rise on weak dollar, expectations for OPEC+ output cuts

SINGAPORE: Oil prices rose slightly on Tuesday due to a weak dollar, and expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, known as OPEC+, would deepen and extend output cuts due to fears demand would remain subdued, according to Reuters.

Brent crude futures were up 11 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $80.09 a barrel at 8:10 a.m. Saudi time. 

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading 4 cents higher, also 0.1 percent, at $74.90 a barrel. Both benchmarks pared some gains after rising sharply in early Asian trade.

OPEC+, which includes Russia, will hold an online ministerial meeting on Nov. 30 to discuss production targets for 2024.

The meeting comes amid a sharp decline in oil prices, due to concerns that the market was oversupplied despite output cuts by the OPEC+. Brent has fallen by more than 18 percent and WTI by over 21 percent since end-September highs. Strong production by non-OPEC countries such as the US have added to pressure on prices.

OPEC+ set oil prices tumbling last week by postponing its meeting in order to iron out disagreements over production targets for African producers. But it has moved toward a compromise, four OPEC+ sources told Reuters on Friday, potentially helping a consensus on the need to deepen output cuts.

The decline in prices could spare Riyadh any pressure from the US to limit output cuts, according to analysts.

“Saudi Arabia may be comforted that US gasoline prices have fallen for 60 straight days. This may soften the US opposition to any move to tighten oil markets and support prices,” ANZ Research said in a note on Tuesday.

The US dollar’s retreat to its lowest level in three months should bolster demand fronm countries who pay for their oil in other currencies.

Ex-PM Khan’s party says facing crackdown in stronghold province ahead of Pakistan elections

Ex-PM Khan’s party says facing crackdown in stronghold province ahead of Pakistan elections
Updated 28 November 2023

Ex-PM Khan’s party says facing crackdown in stronghold province ahead of Pakistan elections

Ex-PM Khan’s party says facing crackdown in stronghold province ahead of Pakistan elections
  • Police confirm clashes with PTI ahead of political convention last week, cases filed against hundreds of supporters
  • Caretaker government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province says “no ban on any political party to hold rallies”

DIR LOWER: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has said it is facing a crackdown in its stronghold province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ahead of general elections scheduled in February, with police confirming clashes at a recent political convention and the subsequent arrests of dozens of PTI supporters.

The party says the crackdown in the northwestern province is part of a wider clampdown that began after May 9, when Khan supporters took to the streets in nationwide protests, ransacking military installations and government and private properties following the ex-PM’s brief arrest by an anti-corruption agency. Pakistan’s army and the then government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif responded fiercely, accusing Khan’s supporters of terrorism and vowing to punish the alleged perpetrators, including through trials in army courts. 

Thousands of PTI supporters, including top party leaders, were subsequently arrested and many remain in jail. A legion of senior PTI leaders also abruptly announced they were quitting the party or leaving politics, which they were widely believed to have done under pressure from the military establishment, which denies interfering in politics.

Khan himself has been embroiled in a tangle of political and legal battles since he was ousted as prime minister in April last year in a parliamentary vote of no-confidence. He has not been seen in public since he was jailed for three years in August for not declaring assets earned from the sale of state gifts during his tenure in office from 2018 to 2022.

Khan says the cases are politically motivated and part of a larger plan to keep him and the PTI out of elections. As things stands, Khan, as a convict, is barred from contesting any elections under Pakistani law.

But the PTI, like other political parties, has started election activities though it alleges it is being kept from holding corner meetings and political conventions, especially in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the party ruled from 2013-23.

On November 25, a clash was reported between police and PTI supporters on their way to attend a workers convention in Wari, a union council in Upper Dir.

“PTI supporters were adamant to attend the workers convention and the police were not allowing them, which resulted in the clash,” General Secretary of the PTI in Upper Dir, Imran Saeed, told Arab News, adding that policemen were stationed at checkpoints across Dir Upper and Dir Lower to stop people from reaching the venue of the convention in the village of a former member of the national assembly, Sahibzada Sibghat Ullah.

Saeed said two PTI members were injured in the clash and dozens were arrested by the police.

Waqar Ahmed Khan, the district police office in Dir Upper, confirmed the arrests and clashes and said a police case had been filed against 188 people for violating a ban on public gatherings imposed this month under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure CrPC, which empowers district administrations to issue orders in the public interest that may place a ban on an activity for a specific period of time. Such a ban is enforced by the police who register cases under section 188 of the Pakistan Penal Code for violations of the ban.

The district police officer said 74 people had been arrested and nine police reports filed, while three civilians and three policemen were injured in the clashes. Among those charged in the police reports are former MPA Fazal Hakeem from Swat, former MPA Liaqat Ali Khan from Dir Lower, former MNA Gul Zafar Khan from Bajaur, Khan’s lawyer Muhammad Afzal Marwat and former MNA Junaid Akbar from Malakand.

In Swat, another district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, police said 36 people had been arrested and cases had been filed against more than 2,400 people for violating Section 144 on Nov. 26.


While the PTI says its political activities are being disrupted and its supporters intimidated through arrests, other political parties have been campaigning freely in the province.
The Pakistan Peoples Party held a workers’ convention and the party’s chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, addressed a large public gathering in Dir Upper on Nov. 21. The Pakistan Tehreek Insaf Parliamentarian party organized a rally in Lower Dir on Nov. 24 while the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-F held a rally in Peshawar, the provincial capital, on Nov. 17.

Irfan Saleem, the Deputy Secretary of Information PTI-KP, said it was “unfair” that his party’s political activities were being blocked under the “pretext” of Section 144 while other political parties were free to carry on with their campaigns.

“Leaders and workers from the PTI were arrested in Dir Upper, Lower Dir and in Swat on the pretext of violating Section 144,” he told Arab News. “We want free and fair elections and that the voice of the public is heard.”

“We will use the rights given to us by the constitution and we will conduct peaceful rallies,” he added.

Feroz Jamal Kakakhel, the caretaker Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, denied that the PTI was being blocked from campaigning, saying Section 144 had been imposed in view of rising militant attacks in the province in recent months.

“There is no ban on any political party to hold political rallies,” he said. “There is a law-and-order situation in the province and the district administration has imposed section 144 in the larger public interest.”

But independent political analysts warned about the legitimacy of an election in which the PTI was not allowed a “level playing field” and fair competition.

 “To stop only one political party from conducting political rallies is not a good thing for democracy,” analyst and journalist Tariq Waheen said, “and will have bad consequences for the upcoming polls.”